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Flip flopping on Bendigo Bunch projects

On a warm spring day and summer just around the corner, City of Greater Bendigo was in the mood for a paddle in their flipflops when announcing the new Kangaroo Flat library location.

We welcome the new library in Lockwood Road, investing in delivery and services and provision of jobs in a major suburb of Bendigo.

Why, council even noted the close proximity of the new library location to the Kangaroo Flat railway station. I remember that, while no longer the MP for the area, it was a strong community campaign that rattled and rumbled the Brumby Government to reopen Kangaroo Flat station and increase services to more than 200 a week more than a decade ago.

But what is so disturbing about the Bendigo Bunch library announcement is the sheer hypocrisy of its rationale, reasoning and logic.

Up front and centre among the “selling points” is the library will be on council-owned land. Coming not far behind up the Bendigo Creek is that land adjoining the new library site is also owned by the council. Yes, that’s right, owned by the council in trust for the residents of Bendigo today and tomorrow.

But without any legitimate business plan, release of consultant briefs or one iota of community consultation, the Bendigo Bunch has adopted a completely opposite approach when it comes to its $100 million partnership with the State Government for GovHub.

Remember, council is selling our land and buildings to become a rent-paying tenant in a GovHub and the Bendigo Bunch refuses to answer reasonable questions as the community demands transparency and scrutiny of this major decision, albeit in-principle only at this time.

Not that it has stopped council, ploughing on spending money on leases for temporary offices and other bills coming in by the day for a project yet to receive the tick of approval from councillors let alone convince three councillors who voted against or abstained from the fateful February decision.

And let us not also forget, this GovHub is going to rip jobs out of Epsom and East Bendigo. Nor that in Ballarat they are getting 600 new State Government jobs for their GovHub and Bendigo a miserly 100. The Bendigo Bunch CEO says that’s a good deal. Who is he trying to kid.

Back to the inconsistencies of council in major projects. There is a community campaign underway in Bendigo that is rattling and rumbling the Bendigo Bunch, drawing attention to the concerns and the holes in this dud GovHub, a project partnership that council now admits could have a financial blackhole and ratepayers will carry the can.

Before the Kangaroo Flat library is moved from its Lansell Plaza (showing my age I know) location, councillors should pop in and read up on governance, transparency and answering reasonable questions.

Afterall, as the media is now reporting daily it’s #yourrighttoknow.

And there is no doubt #bendigodeservesbetter

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